MOM was one of the hardest things Reginald Diggs ever had
to do. He was infected with HIV. He'd been living on the
"down low," having sex with other men against the
teachings of his church and his mom, his life-long comfort
and strength. Would she still love him?
spirituality and secrecy are a tangle for men on the "down
low," and one of the reasons (along with poverty, drug
use, incarceration and poor access to health care) for
soaring HIV-infection rates among African Americans.
Americans are 12 percent of the U.S. population, but about
half of the million people infected with HIV.
• In King
County, blacks are 5 percent of the population but 22
percent of the HIV cases.
African-American men are infected with HIV at seven times
the rate of white men; African-American women at 19 times
the rate of white women. In both cases, transmission is
mostly through sex with men.